Israel launched another reconnaissance satellite last week as military tensions increase in the Middle East. After lifting off from the Palmachim range at 2:40 local time on June 11, the Shavit three-stage launcher successfully delivered the 300-kilogram Ofeq-7 into a low-Earth, elliptical orbit. Once in orbit, Ofeq-7 unfurled its solar array that should give it a minimum life of four years.
After spending a decade studying automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) technologies, Russia and Sweden have signed an accord to bring to their part of the world the necessary ground infrastructure for support of the concept.
In a nod to increasing concerns about the environmental impact of aircraft, CFM International has successfully tested one of its engines fueled by a mix of biofuel and normal Jet-A1 kerosene.The company said the target is for a 20-percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
The Solar Impulse project has made significant progress toward its aim of being the first solar-powered aircraft flying at night. The team initiated by psychiatrist and famous aeronaut Bertrand Piccard began construction of the 200-foot-wingspan prototype late in April. Flight tests should start next year.
Will flying one day be as taboo as smoking is today, at least in most of Europe? Will it become socially unacceptable in the future to travel by air? Experts who see an unprecedented attack on air transport’s environmental footprint are posing these questions, challenging the industry’s growth for the first time in several decades.
Agusta A109A II, Edmonds, Wash., Sept. 29, 2005–The NTSB could not determine the reason for loss of control during the maneuvering flight, which resulted in “an in-flight collision with water.” The helicopter was returning to base at night, over the ocean. It followed the coastline at 800 feet msl, then turned away from the shore at about 9:13 p.m.
Eurocopter AS 350-B3, Yellow Pine, Idaho, Aug. 13, 2006–The AS 350 was destroyed and the commercial pilot and three passengers killed when the helicopter crashed 18 miles west of Yellow Pine. The helicopter was being operated by Evergreen Helicopters, of McMinnville, Ore., under contract to the U.S. Forest Service. The helicopter had flown from Krassel Helibase to take a relief fire lookout to Williams Peak lookout tower.
Sikorsky S-76A++, Eugene Island, Gulf of Mexico, Oct. 22, 2006–The Petroleum Helicopters S-76 was destroyed when it crashed into the Gulf of Mexico while landing at the offshore platform Eugene Island Block 259, in VMC. The 16,848-hour ATP-rated pilot was not injured and the 1,731-hour commercial copilot received only minor injuries.
A solar flare 10 times stronger than anything researchers had previously observed or predicted surprised scientists last December, not only because of its size and strength, but because of the effect it had on GPS receivers and other communications systems. Now scientists are looking at previous data and trying to understand how these flares affect satellite signals, in the hope that they can one day prevent further disruptions.
Summer is almost upon us in the northern hemisphere, but the FAA is embroiled in two significant icing-related issues: a proposed new rule for when de-ice systems are activated and a new interpretation of the term “known icing.”